MIT providing ISIL militants safe passage through Turkey, daily claims

Turkish intelligence is facilitating a terrorist organization by allowing militants and weapons safe passage through Turkey into Syria, according to a Turkish daily.
The National Intelligence Organization (MiT) has been helping members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)ross the border into Syria according to footage obtained by the Cumhuriyet daily, which shows bus drivers admitting that they transferred and”heavily bearded people, who looked scruffyand” to the border.
According to the report on Thursday, the militants and cargo were collected from the Atme camp in Syria, bearing the black flag of ISIL, near the Reyhanli district in Turkeyand’s southern Hatay province. They were then transported via Turkeyand’s southeastern border and dropped off at the border town of Akandcakale in ianliurfa province, where the militants and cargo re-entered Syria after passing through Turkish territory. According to Cumhuriyet, ISIL militants were unable to travel safely through Syrian territory near Kobani — a predominantly Kurdish town near Syriaand’s border with Turkey — as the city and surrounding area is held and defended by the Kurdish Peopleand’s Protection Units (YPG).
h2Driver explains how they took militants from Reyhanli to Akandcakaleh2 In the video one of the drivers — remaining anonymous for security reasons — points to the point of entry into Syria from Hatay, saying: and”That is where we crossed the border, following the escorts. We waited in a cabin. We had already shut of all the lights in the vehicles. The individual came from over there, from within the darkness. They opened the trunks of the vehicles and starting unloading the weapons and ammunition. and”
The driver continued: and”They didnand’t allow us to leave the vehicle [once we had arrived at Akandcakale]. One of them [militants] was waiting by our side. Another vehicle came and parked behind my coach and they started moving the cargo from my vehicle [into the other one]. There were 46 [militants] in my coach, and I learned later on that there were 27 in the other bus. They were bearded men, scruffy looking.and”
Also stating that all the passengers were of Arab ethnicity, one of the drivers said the militants had nothing in their hands when they had entered the coaches. and”They put all of their belonging in the trunk. They were all bearded. They didnand’t allow us to leave the vehicle, or turn on the lights. We werenand’t even allowed to go out for a cigarette. They said andlsquoSmoke in the car.and’ We then took the individuals to Akandcakale.and”
According to the report the drivers said they and”were not in the wrongand” and justified their involvement in the transportation of the militants by claiming that they were and”doing their duty to the state.and”
h2Drivers: Coaches were accompanied by MiT agentsh2 The driversand’ statements came after an anonymous tip prompted the Adana Narcotics Bureau to conduct an operation against two coaches in Adanaand’s incirlik district in January. The police officers were not able to find any narcotics in the vehicles. However they did find boxes of ammunition wrapped up in blankets in their trunks.
The coaches were then pulled into the Adana Special Operations Bureauand’s garage for closer inspection. The drivers, iahin Ganduvenmez and Esat Landutfi Er, were quickly detained. When the drivers were questioned regarding the cargo, they told police that the coaches had been rented by MiT and that they had been used to transport militants and cargo to the border. They suggested that the bullets found in the trunk may have been forgotten to be unloaded.
One of the two drivers then explained that the coaches had been accompanied by MiT agents during the trip and that the passengers had told them not to stop the coaches unless it was for something urgent.
h2Driver: We crossed the border with the MiT agentsh2 One of the drivers told investigators that they had entered Syria from the left border gate in Akandcakale and after passing into Syria drove only 15-20 meters before MiT operatives came and oversaw the unloading of the coaches by the militants they had transported.
and”Twenty or so civilians came. I donand’t know who they are. MiT or military came and unloaded the cargo. Then they [civilians] said, andlsquoOur job is done,and’and” the driver explained.
h2Report comes at a time when US cranking up pressure on Turkeyh2 The report comes at a time when US President Barack Obama has openly criticized Turkish authorities for the first time for failing to ramp up Ankaraand’s capacity to prevent foreign fighters from crossing the Turkish-Syria border.
Washingtonand’s unhappiness with Turkeyand’s reluctance to contribute to the US-led campaign against ISIL has been very well known in political circles, but until recently US authorities had refrained from using highly critical remarks against the Turkish government while the negotiations regarding Turkeyand’s possible contribution had been ongoing.
Turkey has an agreement with Washington to train militias to fight against ISIL.
h2Trucks belonging to MiT stopped on suspicion of carrying weapons in 2014h2 In a front page story published in May, Cumhuriyet produced images from a video in the investigation file proving that the MiT trucks that were stopped in an investigation in January 2014 were carrying weapons, contradicting the governmentand’s claim that they were carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmens in Syria.
Cumhuriyet published photos showing steel containers filled with mortar shells and other ammunition underneath boxes of medicine. The daily also published a video on its online news portal showing the containers on trucks being opened and searched by gendarmes on the same day.
Speaking in a live broadcast on the Habertandurk news station on May 31, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu said the timing of the publication about the trucks was and”telling.and” The prime minister accused those involved in the interception of the trucks of espionage and maintained that the report was published shortly before the upcoming general election in order to create the impression that the AK Party is supporting terrorist groups in Syria.
h2Turkey denies report of sending weapons, fighters to ISILh2 Ankara has dismissed claims that Turkeyand’s intelligence service transferred arms and fighters to ISIL calling the allegations and”a part of the smear campaignand” against Turkey and and”slander.and”
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Turkeyand’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiandc answered questions about the Cumhuriyet report, stating that Turkeyand’s stance is quite clear: and”This dark organization is [first and] foremost a security threat for Turkey. The fight against this threat will continue with determination. The allegation that Turkey aids DAEi (ISIL) is part of a smear campaign [against Turkey] and is slander.and”
Turkey has long faced criticism from the West for allegedly turning a blind eye to foreign fighters crossing into Syria and Iraq from Turkish territory in order to join up with ISIL. Turkey has denied these allegations, saying that the Western countries have a responsibility to flag potential foreign fighters in their own countries and share the information with Turkey.
h2Figures of Syrian civil warh2 A recent report prepared by the Freedom Association (andOzgandur-Der) and Humanitarian Aid Foundation (iHH), involving four human rights organizations, reveals the gravity of the humanitarian catastrophe of the Syrian civil war which started at the end of 2011 as the Arab Spring spread from North Africa into the Middle East.
The report indicates that 210,000-300,000 people have died fighting in the war and another 12,751 people have been tortured to death. The number of people held in Syrian prisons is 252,000, of which 6,500 are women. The number of missing persons stands at 90,000. Currently, 7.5 million Syrians live outside Syria as a direct result of the war. Some 11,238 people have been affected by chemical weapons. More than 3 million houses, 224 hospitals, more than 3,000 schools and 1,400 mosques have been bombed and destroyed. At the moment, as many as 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance and 2 million children have no access to aid because of a blockade on the war-torn nation.